Finding the greatest thinking partner

Call off the search!

Hello Hedge Schoolers,

I turned 43 this week. The day was spent watching my ten-year-old daughter in a basketball tournament. So much learning through experience. So many mistakes. So many course corrections. Our thinking operates in the same way. We are situated in an experience as active participants. Our internal experience bumps up against the external experience and we course-correct based on the feedback that we get. This is why writing is so important.

It is the court we play on.

The external output of our internal wanderings. This week we are going to extend our Zettelkasten experience through the development of a dialogue partner. For those new to the thread, this is episode three so be sure to check out episodes one and two first to provide context.


In episode one we captured our wanderings via Fleeting notes.

In episode two, we honoured the vulnerability of the author by connecting with their work and rewording it into our own language.

The next step is to crystallise this conversation into a Permanent note.

A Permanent note is what lives in our Zettelkasten. It is a declarative statement that captures the dialogue we have had with the author. It is our own declarative statement. It is a conversation we are interested in pursuing.

To get to this stage, we need to create summary thumbnails for our Fleeting and Literature notes. As you can see from the below video, there are so many threads to pick up. Where do we start?

  1. Our first job is to pull the important parts into a high-level summary. This summary then sits next to the Fleeting notes tag.

  1. Now repeat this step for the Literature note

What we have now is a summary of each position. And we are ready to open up our Zettelkasten to begin the conversation

Dialogue Partner

As I've mentioned previously, we read for meaning. To understand. To gain insight. But often our processes finish too early and we don't integrate the knowledge into our own mental models.

The conversation finishes too early.

A Zettelkasten is a conversation with your future self. It is a rich dialogue partner that promotes serendipity and the unfurling of the adjacent possible. This is my current Zettekasten. As always with thinking, it is a work in progress.

To crystallise our current dialogue with adrienne maree brown, we look firstly at the thumbnail hashtags (aka the first word/s of each sentence). These themes provide us with anchor points to connect our current conversation to. Looking back to our Fleeting note thumbnail and our Literature Note thumbnail, which hashtag provides the best conversation to keep going?

What conversation do I want to continue?

To show you this, I’ve recorded run-through of the process. This is how to interweave the thinking that was generated between myself and adrienne into my own mental models. It is my thinking as an artefact in the world.

The third way

As more Permanent notes are added, I can start to see the conversations that I have in progress. I can see the connections. As well as placing a Permanent note in my Zettelkasten, I want to see where else it connects.

What other conversations could it start?

This now brings diversity to the table. It is deliberately interdisciplinary. Notes from poets interact with notes from scientists and notes from wise elders.

I can start a conversation at the hashtag level. For example, what does #Perception and #Place spark in my thinking?

I can look at the declarative statements and ask about the relationship of these statements.

What do I learn? What am I missing?

I can then also dig into the original thinking of both and look at how I arrived at that statement. What conversation do my original fleeting notes or literature notes spark?

This seems like a lot of work

Yes. And no. Thinking is working out. And we don’t gain without lifting some weights.

Below is an image of my previous workflow.

I would take copious notes on the books I read and collect a bunch of information that I never would truly integrate. The information was there but there was no dialogue around it.

Creating a Zettelkasten has changed the way I read and the way that I collect. I look now for conversation starters.

My filters are deliberately sharper as I am looking for more targeted interactions. Over time, this Zettelkasten grows my thinking with compound interest. This is my voice being developed.

My original thinking.

My Signature Sound.

I am deeply passionate about sharing this process with the world.


Well, I've been part of Roam Book club for the past few weeks and we have created a group Zettelkasten with over 500 Permanent notes.

This is murmuration in action. See below for a little glimpse. This could be your dialogue partner.

If you're keen to learn more, hit me up and I'll jump on a call to talk you through it.

Much love,